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Old 15th November 2009, 11:03   #1
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Default First Drive & Impressions: Maruti SX4 Automatic (AT)

So, after a week of following up on the phone , my friendly neighbourhood Maruti dealer finally managed to get an SX4 AT. Got a call around yesterday afternoon from the sales guy asking me to come over for a TD. First I went and picked up the OHC which I had given for service and the headed to the Maruti showroom. Ok now enough of this, lets get straight to the car itself.

At a first glance there is not much of a difference in looks if seen from the naked eye. I can say this since I saw both the new and the old car parked side by side. Its only later that you notice the changes which visually are not much. The new car gets a honeycomb grille which looks much better than the earlier one IMO. The SX4 now comes with 16" 10 spoke alloys and 205 profile tyres. The demo car had a body kit which looks good but makes the rear look very bulky. I liked the thin lip spoiler on the boot though.

Now to the real juice. The prominent VVT badge on the front fender tells you that there is something different under the hood. Cosmetic changes aside, this is what the new SX4 is all about - a new 1.6 VVT powerplant. Its comes mated to either a 5 speed manual or a 4 Speed slushbox. This was the AT I was driving. Fire up the engine and you notice the difference right from the word go. The new unit is much more refined than the earlier one. Slot the shifter into D3 and the car slowly surges forward. I have to say that Maruti has worked hard on its AT box on the SX4. After living for a total of 9 years with two Maruti AT cars the 800 AT ('97 to '01) and the Zen AT ('01 to '06) I think I am qualified to say that. The AT box of the SX4 is leagues ahead of those horrid 3 speed ones which came in the Esteem, Zen and Wagon R. The shifts are smooth and you dont feel the jerks as the car goes through the gears. Kickdown is fun and the AT drops a gear and shoots you forward. The earlier SX4 used to sound pretty rough at high speeds ( other SX4 owners on the forum can give their opinion on this) but this is way better. This VVT loves to be revved and sounds much sweeter. The car takes the bad patches of road with ease but the suspension felt a bit firm making the ride somewhat bumpy. Note that this was just a short driving impression and time was a constraint.

A few more additional points on the car:
  • The SX4 ZXi comes with two tone beige interiors. (Indian favourite)
  • Slot style AT gearbox console which I liked.
  • Dead pedal a nice touch.
  • Amber coloured illumination for the controls too flashy for my taste.
  • Centre arm rest sorely missed on the Zxi, something which could have been provided.
  • USB connectivity for Ipods and pendrives, a useful feature.
  • Height adjustable front seatbelts.
  • Driver's seat gets height adjust on the Zxi but the range could have been better.
  • Fuel lid and boot opening levers had a cheap feel.
  • Prices: 9.25 lakhs(ZXi) and 9.62( ZXi leather) on road Mumbai

Last edited by Dippy : 15th November 2009 at 11:05.
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Old 15th November 2009, 11:05   #2
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Woohoo way to go Dippy, was waiting for a review, you got it. Just waiting for the AT FE figures too.
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Old 15th November 2009, 11:09   #3
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Good review.

A quick question - how do you activate the kick down mode ?
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Old 15th November 2009, 11:29   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anilkalvani View Post
Woohoo way to go Dippy, was waiting for a review, you got it. Just waiting for the AT FE figures too.
I guess future owners of the AT would be the best to give us those

Quote:
Originally Posted by oss View Post
Good review.

A quick question - how do you activate the kick down mode ?
For kick down, all you do is slam down the accelerator and the autobox does a downshift giving you more power to move ahead. Used generally in overtaking.
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Old 15th November 2009, 11:42   #5
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Nice review there. Price is way too high and i doubt people will fork out that much to buy an SX4 Petrol AT. I think it's almost comparable to Verna CRDi AT.

Amber lights are a favorite of Maruti and adorns quite a few of their models.
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Old 15th November 2009, 11:54   #6
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Nice review Dippy, nice to see Maruti finally offering 4 speed AT, their earlier 3-speed AT cars were single handedly responsible for spoiling the reputation of auto-transmisson cars in India. Lot of people never considered Santro 4-speed AT because of the dreadful reputation created by Maruti AT cars. At least now let the healing begin...
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Old 15th November 2009, 12:05   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Nice review Dippy, nice to see Maruti finally offering 4 speed AT, their earlier 3-speed AT cars were single handedly responsible for spoiling the reputation of auto-transmisson cars in India. Lot of people never considered Santro 4-speed AT because of the dreadful reputation created by Maruti AT cars. At least now let the healing begin...
Exactly what I said in the first post. I really hope the SX4 AT sells because it is leaps ahead of those horrid 3 Speeders. On another note this 4 speed box in a Swift would be fantastic. I see a lot of potential in a Swift AT. Hope the guys at Maruti are reading this.
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Old 15th November 2009, 13:10   #8
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Seems little overpriced, for a maruti car?.
How is the quality of ICE - is there any change from old SX4 or the same?
Thanks
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Old 15th November 2009, 13:55   #9
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Good review Dippy. I am glad that my impression when I did a TD of the new SX4 Zxi MT regarding the engine is confirmed by you.

You may see the link http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...ochure-10.html (New SX4 VVT brochure) Post 141 for my TD impression.

Also, on Friday, I booked a white SX4 ZXi MT. Have come to really like the car. Have also posted my booking experience in the "I Booked My Car" thread.
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Old 15th November 2009, 15:21   #10
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Nice review Dippy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
Nice review there. Price is way too high and i doubt people will fork out that much to buy an SX4 Petrol AT. I think it's almost comparable to Verna CRDi AT.
Prices of comparable priced AT cars (All ex-delhi from their respective websites)-

1. i20 1.4 AT - 7.31 L
2. i20 1.4 Asta AT (O) with Sunroof- 7.72 L

3. SX4 ZXi AT- 8.02 L
4. MARUTI SX4 ZXI AT LEATHER - 8.35 L

5. Verna 1.5 SX CRDi VGT AT - 8.66L
6. City 1.5 V AT- 9.54 L.

Seems like the OTR will be almost 2 LAKHS cheaper than the City!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dippy View Post
On another note this 4 speed box in a Swift would be fantastic. I see a lot of potential in a Swift AT. Hope the guys at Maruti are reading this.
i10 AT has met with decent success in the segment. How about bringing in the AT version during the engine upgrade?

A while you are at it, how about the 1.6 VVT engine in a sport variant as well?

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 15th November 2009 at 15:33.
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Old 15th November 2009, 15:35   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dippy View Post
After living for a total of 9 years with two Maruti AT cars the 800 AT ('97 to '01) and the Zen AT ('01 to '06) I think I am qualified to say that.
Maruti 800 AT existed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dippy View Post
The earlier SX4 used to sound pretty rough at high speeds ( other SX4 owners on the forum can give their opinion on this) but this is way better.
Yes, my SX4 also has a bit rough sound at high speeds. But that suits this sporty looking big car well!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dippy View Post
Prices: 9.25 lakhs(ZXi) and 9.62( ZXi leather) on road Mumbai
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Nice review Dippy.

Prices of comparable priced AT cars (All ex-delhi from their respective websites)-

1. i20 1.4 AT - 7.31 L
2. i20 1.4 Asta AT (O) with Sunroof- 7.72 L

3. SX4 ZXi AT- 8.02 L
4. MARUTI SX4 ZXI AT LEATHER - 8.35 L

5. Verna 1.5 SX CRDi VGT AT - 8.66L
6. City 1.5 V AT- 9.54 L.

Is a bit on the higher side for a Maruti SX4, I think. But considering the sky-high prices of Verna AT and City AT, this is the best deal. And buying i20 AT hatch at such a price is like spending 3 lakhs on a Nano!

Last edited by romeomidhun : 15th November 2009 at 15:43.
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Old 15th November 2009, 16:55   #12
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After a week of constant pushing and enquiring, I managed to Test drive the Zxi AT yesterday. I am already an SX4 owner and so wanted to check out whether the so called VVT is something different or not. I wanted to drive the Manual version so that I could post a real comparison, but infortunately the dealer did not have a test vehicle of the manual version.

Nevertheless, I did drive the AT.

Exteriors:
The exterior really doesn't feel all that different. Yes the TD vehicle had the body kit and so looked quite nice. The honeycomb grill is a nice touch, gives a slightly upmarket look. The 10 spoke alloys look nice though personally I like the 5 spoke ones. They give a macho and sporty look to a muscular car. The Tyre is the same JK Vectra 205 R 60.

Interiors:
The interiors are the same except for the dual tone beige (I still like the Black and beige combo). The Integrated stereo now gets a USB provision (Nice). The audio control on the steering now is back lit (couldn't check out though). A wooden hand rest for the 4 doors is something different. It looks good though I am not a fan of the fake wood look.
The rear seat hump is reduced significantly, but still has a slight uneveness at the centre. The rear visibility is better with the smaller rear headrests. Rest of the interiors is just the same. .

Drive:
Started the engine and immediately realised a difference. The VVT is much more refined than the current engine. Very little noise and that's what impressed me. Slotted the lever in D-3 and started off. The car moved smoothly ahead with absolutely no strain. The refinement is really good especially compared to the 1st gear of my current Zxi that transmits some vibrations. Accelerated quickly and touched 100Kmph. Gear changes were smooth with very little jerks. The suspension set up is the same. At low speeds some vibrations from the bad roads were transmitted, but not really something to worry. It was almost a 10 min drive and I really enjoyed the same. The tyre noise is the same, after all the JKs are the same.

Overall, this seems to be a good move from Maruti. An attractive price for the AT will surely bring in some new and additional consumers to Maruti. However, I really wished for some more extra horses under the hood and a diesel variant to really up the Ante

Last edited by nurni76 : 15th November 2009 at 17:11.
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Old 15th November 2009, 17:04   #13
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@nurni76: Nice review of the AT. Being an existing SX4 owner, the immediate differences would be noticible to you. Though I felt the engine to be very refined, can you elaborate more on the engine noise of the new car v/s yours?
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Old 15th November 2009, 17:11   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dippy View Post
@nurni76: Nice review of the AT. Being an existing SX4 owner, the immediate differences would be noticible to you. Though I felt the engine to be very refined, can you elaborate more on the engine noise of the new car v/s yours?
The Engine noise of the VVT seems definitely less than my current one. However, the booming noise in my SX4 starts after around 3.5K Rpm. I wasn't able to take the car over 3.5K RPM and so can't comment on that. What really is different is the refinement in terms of very low vibrations compared to my ZXi.
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Old 15th November 2009, 18:39   #15
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Dips,

Nice review. One question - how does this box compare to current-gen auto boxes on other cars ?
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